Homoeopathy and Neurological Disorders - Part 2
As previously pointed out in Part 1 (see Natural Horse Volume 5, Issue 5), I do not recommend the lay person treat any horse with a serious neurological disorder without the professional, expert help of firstly your veterinarian, and secondly your homoeopath. Neurological disorders are often complex and difficult to understand. Many lead to devastating consequences for both horse and carer.
Early detection and treatment is paramount to minimise brain and/or spinal cord lesions that may occur during a bout of the many neurological disorders that could lead to permanent neurological damage, e.g. equine motor neuron disease (EMND). As several different locations and areas of the nervous system can be affected at one time, the signs and symptoms will manifest differently from one horse to the next and also vary in intensity.
The best prevention against any disturbance of your horse's wellbeing is a strong, healthy vital force. A horse is unlikely to befall an alarming disorder while his immune system is capable of defence by killing disease-causing organisms before they enter the nervous system.
Classical homoeopathy, delivered by using constitutional remedies, assists the horse to maintain his defence mechanism against immune system breakdown or pathogenic invasion. Keeping your horse in a healthy, natural, drug-free environment with quality food and water, providing exercise and mental stimulation, and ensuring a minimum of stress all play a significant role here too!
However, should your horse succumb to a neurological disorder there is a large range of homoeopathic remedies to aid in his recovery and modify the course of 'dis-ease' but as previously stated you are best advised to seek the professional services of an expert to guide you in this process.
REMEDY TIPS ( continued from Part 1 ):
In Part 1 I began with some remedies starting with the letter 'A' as there were seven of those alone. In this issue (Part 2) I continue with further remedies to consider and in the next issue, Part 3 will unfold the remainder of the listing.
Remember that while the following remedies are indicated for various neurological complaints, they are not limited to these problems, nor are the problems limited to these remedies. Please study your materia medica for further differentiation and other remedy considerations. Consult with your homoeopath for verification and dosing advice. The following list represents only a few key tips on some of the specific remedies that may help your horse and is by no means a comprehensive or complete list.
BELLADONNA (Deadly Nightshade) - For symptoms displayed that are sudden and violent in onset, a complementary remedy to Aconite. This remedy features throbbing and pulsating pains, dilated shining pupils, burning and heat, redness/inflammation, and fevers. Violent mental symptoms are often exhibited such as striking, biting, and kicking, pulling at the hair of bystanders or tearing rugs to pieces. There may be spasms of one side of the body and paralysis of the other. Neuralgic pains that come and go suddenly (Oxytropis has pains and mental weakness, but not the violence of Belladonna). Can't keep still, constantly changes position. The patient has extreme sensitiveness to touch and pain, jarring, light and noise. Fears the dark, dogs and black animals. He may have a desire to escape or hide. Seen to be worse in the heat of the sun or being heated, at 3pm , on the right side of the body, being around running water, and after a clip or wash. Better when leaning the head against something and from a light covering.
BRYONIA (Bryonia alba, Wild Hops) - Pain and muscle or bone soreness. A keynote of this remedy is that pain is worse for the slightest movement, both in the physical and/or mental sense. The pain does not improve with motion like it does in Rhus tox. The horse will be extremely reluctant to move. Another characteristic symptom is that the area is better with continued moderate pressure, e.g. bandaging. Pressure from the sudden hard poking of fingers will find painful spots, joints or limbs and be met with a resistance to be touched or approached. Symptoms may predominate on the left but right-sided symptoms should not be excluded when the characteristic symptoms are evident. Muscles feel hard after episodes of neuralgia. The Bryonia horse can often have constipation when away from home. He can have dry mucous membranes with a marked thirst for large, cold drinks at long intervals. The patient is worse for any movement at all, becoming hot, evenings (especially 9pm ), morning on rising, and after eating. Better for rest (no movement), and the pressure of lying on the painful side.
CALC FLUOR (Fluoride of Lime) - Helps dissolve bony exostoses and other calcium deposits that may be causing spinal vertebrae interference, fusing and/or nerve pinching. When ailments arise from straining and over-stretching and there is a general stiffness. Effective for swellings and hard nodes in ligaments, muscles and tendons, connective tissue adhesions, and periosteum damage. Given post surgery reduces the tendency to adhesions. The patient may have a craving for salt and be of sluggish temperament. Chronic lumbar region pain is most seen during rest and on beginning to move. Continued motion improves the horse so some conditions will be more difficult to notice if the horse has not been observed at rest or directly after stall confinement. The horse is also worse for changes in weather, and better in heat, with warm applications, and rubbing. Medium to high potencies should not be repeated often as this is a slow acting remedy for treating chronic complaints.
CAUSTICUM (Potassium Hydrate) - A major remedy for acting upon motor and sensory nerves as well as voluntary and involuntary muscles, especially those of the bladder, larynx, and limbs. Characteristically raw, burning, sore and cramping pains occur anywhere in the body. In epilepsy, and other conditions, the horse may be seen to circle or fall to the right, or to pass urine involuntarily. May be indicated for convulsions that occur after the suppressive use of corticosteroids for skin eruptions. Contracture of tendons or other muscles in the body, paralysis of extensor muscles. Paralysis of isolated areas, particularly the face, larynx, and sphincters. Slow, insidiously developing symptoms following a period of stress and/or generally becoming run-down. General state of debility and growing exhaustion when ill, with an overwhelming need to rest and take it easy. The patient may become suspicious or irritable when unwell. The horse can be worse after bathing, at night, on waking, or during travel. The onset of cold weather, dry, cold, east winds, and violent or abrupt changes of temperature also prove troublesome. He is better becoming warm in bedding (except for chest symptoms), for cold drinks, and warm, damp weather.
CHAMOMILLA (Matricaria chamomilla) - Hypersensitivity and irritability. The horse has great difficulty handling the pains and will often be sweating from the pain. He may pace restlessly or head toss in his distress. Though usually impatient and agitated, the opposite can also be found where the horse is weak, numb, and appearing paralysed with difficult respiration. This remedy is frequently used for convulsive type pain during teething. Twitching and convulsions may be accompanied by mild colic, green spinach-like diarrhoea, or jaundice. This remedy is contra-indicated if the horse is constipated! The Chamomilla horse is sensitive to being bossed or reprimanded and anger directed at this horse can be a causative factor to complaints exhibited by symptoms characteristic of Chamomilla. He is likely to be hot and thirsty, cross and mistrustful, and won't want people near. Is worse at night, for being out in the wind, the touch of covers, and heat when teething. Better for heat during colic, warm wet weather, sweating, and being distracted.
CIMICIFUGA (Black Snake-root) - This remedy has a wide action on the cerebrospinal and muscular system. The belly of muscles feels sore, heavy, and aching. There is a marked sensitivity of the spine, especially of the cervical and upper dorsal region. Stiffness and contraction in the neck and back is experienced with difficulty in turning the neck, and numbness in muscles from shoulders to fetlocks or hips to thighs. Head congestion after suddenly ceasing neuralgic pains. Pain detected over lumbar and sacral regions. In spasmodic complaints, clonic spasms can alternate with tonic spasms. Weak, trembling legs accompanied by uterine affections are a helpful confirmatory combination in selecting this remedy. The patient is oversensitive to pain, tends to be depressed or anxious, and becomes exhausted. Mental symptoms can alternate with physical symptoms. He may even display a fear of rats. Often indicated in female subjects that are worse when in season, during labour, and for emotions. A symptom complex may arise after parturition. Worse for pressure placed on the spine, night, morning, change of weather, draft, and motion. Better for warm wraps, open air, pressure on the head, eating, continued gentle motion, and rest. Generally worse for cold air but head symptoms are better for cold air, e.g. a seizure or meningitis.
COFFEA CRUDA (non-toasted coffee) - Marked action as a pain remedy, especially in hysterical subjects with hypersensitive skin. One of the first remedies to try if Aconite gives no relief after a severe fright or sudden emotional response. Acts strongly on the nervous system (like Chamomilla). These horses are very active both mentally and physically, highly alert and quick to act. They tend to be over-excitable and oversensitive, especially to touch and noise. They are seldom seen to rest. They have acute senses and pain is almost insupportable to them. They will be very restless with the pain, often tossing about in agony. For inflammatory conditions where you see the nervous sensibility of the horse while also displaying fever symptoms it can be helpful to alternate Coffea with the remedy Aconite. When the horse is emotionally overwhelmed by sudden surprises, a sudden parting with a companion, severe fright, noises, strong aromas or over-eating he will find this remedy helpful. He is more comfortable from warmth, lying, and sleep. Remember Coffea for pains anywhere that appear intolerable when there are few other leading symptoms.
CONIUM (Poison Hemlock ) - The strong feature of Conium is its ascending paralysis that ultimately leads to respiratory failure. Symptoms such as a difficult or uncoordinated gait, trembling, loss of strength while walking, painful stiffness of the legs, and a gradual progression in debility represent an affinity for nerves, muscles, and aged subjects. It is one of the remedy possibilities that may be helpful for paraplegia that is a result of concussion to the spine. Muscular paralysis shows no spasm. Vertigo, as if he loses balance, that is worse turning the eyes or shaking the head. Tumours and indurated glands are often part of the Conium picture. There can be a tremulous weakness after every stool is passed, or a coldness of the feet. Sexual nervousness is commonly seen, either increased desire or decreased performance. The horse will appear disinterested in life and be averse to company but fear to be alone. He may shun light, even the smallest ray of sunlight can cause anguish, though desires the warmth of the sun. Symptoms are worse at night, during rest, standing, while eating, and excitement. Better stooping, moving, and warmth.
CUPRUM METALLICUM (Copper) - Continuous spasms accompanied by cramping muscles. Contractive and intermitting pain that begins at the extremities and is increased by movement and touch with a desire to stretch the hind legs backwards. Twisting of the head to one side usually begins on the left. Spasms, nervous trembling, acute senses, hypersensitivity to drugs, chilliness, collapse and blueness of the mucous membranes form an important symptom complex. Paralysis of isolated muscles can be seen, e.g. the tongue showing protrusion or retraction. Chewing motion of lower jaw or mouth firmly closed and a dry, rough tongue. Unusual eye movements and twitching lids. The horse may have a ring of light coloured, lack-lustre hair around the eye region. The abdomen can be drawn in and sensitive to touch with spasmodic movements of the abdominal muscles. Violent colic with singultus (hiccup) and swollen groin glands make an unusual trio. Efforts to urinate may be painful and the output low. The patient can become confused and fear being approached. He may be yielding but alternate with being headstrong and even develop attacks of rage wanting to bite and tear things. Symptoms are worse at the new moon, in hot weather, and cold wind. Better for being mesmerised, having a hand lain on the affected part, and cold drinks.
CURARE (Strychnos toxifera, arrow poison) - Curare is especially related to a paralytic condition of the extensors more than the flexors. Paralysis can occur without impairing sensation and consciousness and the output of adrenalin is decreased. Diminished reflex action is another significant symptom. You will commonly see distressed, difficult breathing from paralysis of the respiratory muscles (like Conium). Nervous debility, loss of fluids, exhausting illness, or mechanical injuries are some of the causes of paralysis. Paralysis and perspiration become evident on the least exertion. Neuralgic pain at the front of the neck and of the face may also be accompanied by falling out of facial/head hair, drooping of the right upper eyelid with haggard sunken eyes or right-sided facial paralysis. A fear of falling or hydrophobia can be apparent. Watery diarrhoea with constant urging is another symptom that may be observed. The horse is worse in damp, cold weather, on the right side, and at 2am . He can be averse to eating bread and have a variable appetite but feels better after eating the first mouthful of food though must drink in order to swallow. Curare is considered to be one of several antidotes to strychnine poisoning and rabies, when the symptoms fit, but you are advised to not depend on this. Cases of respiratory paralysis will often require artificial mechanical respirators to be resorted to.
EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM (Boneset) - Has an affinity for bronchial membranes and also stomach and liver. It can have a prompt action for relieving pain in limbs and muscles that accompanies certain forms of febrile diseases, e.g. West Nile Virus. Aching pain of the bones is a principal feature of this remedy, with aching bones as if broken being a keynote. The patient has a large thirst but drinking causes the horse to feel ill and a chill shortly follows with trembling in the back during fever and the chill spreading from the back. Watery diarrhoea may alternate with constipation of clay coloured stools. Nasal discharges, bronchial coughing with expectoration of muco-purulent matter and a loose cough are worse at night. Although the horse has a great desire to rest and is not better from motion, he is restless and cannot keep still. Symptoms can appear periodically, e.g. every 3rd or 4th day, are worse in cold air; and with the smell or sight of food. He is better for perspiration, and being indoors.
GELSEMIUM SEMPERVIRENS (Yellow Jasmine) - For nervous anxiety prior to a show or entering the working arena. These horses are emotionally sensitive and have a nervous dread of appearing in public from their lack of courage. Gelsemium is also frequently employed for treating the aged where symptoms of trembling, weakness, and easy tiring form part of the picture. Emotional excitement can lead to physical ailments. It is also helpful for flus/viruses, especially when there are tremblings, weakness, droopy eyelids, dazed drowsiness, aching muscles and a low thirst. It may be indicated when the patient has never been well since a flu/virus. For fevers of regular type that are less violent and sudden than Aconite or Belladonna but characterised by disorders of innervation. Low grade and local paralysis of a nerve or specific group of nerves such as facial nerve paralysis, facial twitching, radial paralysis, and bladder paralysis is commonly found. Sudden, darting pains shooting along a single nerve branch is sometimes so sudden and acute that it causes the horse to start. The patient is worse for humid weather, after a fright, ordeal, or surprise, and before thunderstorms. He is better for profuse urination, perspiration, open air, bending forward, and in the afternoon.
GLONOINUM (Nitroglycerine) - One of the remedies to use after hard falls on the head for head injuries or spinal concussion that lead to terrible congestive, bursting, pounding headaches. This patient suffers from effects of the sun in general and sunstroke in particular. Symptoms seen will be of confusion and dizziness, loss of sense of direction and space, possible sinking down unconscious, and heart palpitations with an accelerated pulse. Familiar places will seem strange to the horse after an episode. Think of this remedy for meningitis and encephalitis with pulsating pains and throbbing distended temporal arteries that are raised and feel like chords. The Glonoinum horse is worse from mechanical injuries and their later consequences, mental excitement, fright, and fear. Also from having their hair cut (like Aconite and Belladonna), stooping or moving the head, being overheated, bright snow, motion, jar, lying down, and the left side. They are better for open air, elevating the head, and cold applications. Belladonna is a complementary remedy to Glonoinum and may be needed when there is fever.
This article is for educational purposes only and in no way replaces veterinary advice or treatment. Always call your veterinarian when serious events arise. If you desire to follow a holistic path, I would recommend that you obtain approval from your veterinarian to seek the professional services of a qualified classical homoeopath or other certified holistic health practitioner.
"Understanding Equine Neurological Disorders" by Bradford G. Bentz, VMD , MS
"Ruddock's Homoeopathic Vade Mecum" by E.H. Ruddock, MD
"A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica" by J.H. Clarke, MD
"Concordant Materia Medica" by Frans Vermeulen
"Synoptic Materia Medica II" by Frans Vermeulen
"The Treatment of Horses by Homoeopathy" by George Macleod, DVSM
"A Veterinary Materia Medica and Clinical Repertory" by George Macleod, DVSM
Case History and Clinical Notations by Tanya Nolte, DipHom
About the author:
Tanya Nolte lives in NSW, Australia where she keeps a number of horses and also an interesting array of other furry animal companions. She has educated horses and competed successfully in a number of equine disciplines for more than 35 years. Tan operates equine holistic health and horsemanship workshops in what she describes as "EquiPotential". Being a registered classical homoeopath and a practicing veterinary nurse has given her the capacity to conduct consultations at several veterinary clinics, a human/animal homoeopathic practice, and privately at her home office. Tan is a professional member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association, the official Australian Register of Homoeopaths, and the Holistic Animal Therapy Association of Australia for which she is also a committee member. Although specialising in equine health, Tan also happily works with all our other animal companions and their human counterparts. She is available for distance consultations via phone, regular mail or E-mail correspondence.
For more information, and to find a homoeopath near you:
Tanya Nolte, Classical EquiHomoeopath.
Whispering Horse Therapies
PO Box 170 , Nimbin
NSW 2480, Australia
Phone 0266 897500
Australian Homoeopathic Association
PO Box 396 Drummoyne
NSW 1470, Australia
Phone 02 97192763
Holistic Animal Therapy Association
PO Box 202 , Ormond, Melbourne
Vic 3204, Australia
Phone 03 59688100
The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
751 N.E. 168th Street
North Miami Beach , FL 33162-2427
National Center for Homeopathy
801 North Fairfax St., Suite 306
Alexandria , VA 22314
American Holistic Veterinary Medical
2218 Old Emmorton Road
Bel Air , MD 21015